United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO LIFT STAY AND GRANTING MOTION FOR APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL; AND ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE (Dkt. #13 & 14)
CHARLES R. BREYER, District Judge.
Petitioner, a state prisoner currently incarcerated at California State Prison, Solano, filed a pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 in 2012 challenging a conviction from Alameda County Superior Court. He also moved for a stay until he could exhaust all of his claims in state court.
Per order filed on October 23, 2012, the court granted the motion to stay proceedings and instructed the clerk to administratively close the case until petitioner exhausts all of his claims and moves to reopen the case and lift the court's stay. Petitioner recently filed a motion to lift the court's stay, noting that he exhausted state judicial remedies as to all of his claims when the Supreme Court of California rejected his final claims on June 25, 2014. Petitioner also moves for appointment of counsel pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3006A(a)(2)(B). Good cause appearing therefor, petitioner's motion to lift the court's stay and reopen this matter (dkt. #13) is GRANTED.
Petitioner shot and killed a man in the erroneous belief that the man had raped petitioner's sister. He was charged with murder, with allegations of personal use of a firearm, personal infliction of great bodily injury and possession of a firearm by a felon. Petitioner pleaded guilty to the charge of firearm possession by a felon and at trial did not did not deny shooting the man, but contended that he should be convicted of voluntary manslaughter. The jury found petitioner guilty of first degree murder and found the firearm use allegation true. Petitioner's motion for a new trial was denied and, on June 26, 2009, he was sentenced to 50 years to life in state prison.
On January 14, 2011, the California Court of Appeal affirmed the judgment of the trial court and, on April 13, 2011, the Supreme Court of California denied review. Petitioner unsuccessfully started seeking collateral relief from the state courts in 2012. On June 25, 2014, the Supreme Court of California denied his final petition for state habeas relief.
Petitioner's federal petition for a writ of habeas corpus under § 2254 is now ready for consideration.
A. Standard of Review
This court may entertain a petition for a writ of habeas corpus "in behalf of a person in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court only on the ground that he is in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States." 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a).
It shall "award the writ or issue an order directing the respondent to show cause why the writ should not be granted, unless it appears from the application that the applicant or person detained is not entitled thereto." Id . § 2243.
Petitioner seeks federal habeas corpus relief by raising several claims, including various instances of instructional error and ineffective assistance of trial and appellate counsel. The claims appear cognizable under § 2254 and merit an answer from respondent. See, e.g., Estelle v. McGuire , 502 U.S. 62, 72 (1991) (ailing instruction may so infect entire trial that resulting conviction violates due process); Strickland v. Washington , 466 U.S. 668, 686 (1984) (claim of ineffective assistance of counsel is ...